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Spanish general election is set to take place on April 28 as Spain’s Socialists are leading the poll with 31.5 percent of votes.
Spanish people are heading to polls this Sunday amid a political and economic uncertainity in the country that has taken place over the past few years in the country and the region. Shaken by the independence crisis in Catalonia and corruption, the country experienced a political upheaval in June 2018 with the fall of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who was replaced by the Socialist Pedro Sanchez in 2018, after a motion of censorship.
Pedro Sanchez called for new elections earlier this year after the parliament refused to approve the annual budget. The snap elections are going to take place on April 28. teleSUR takes a look at the key and main candidates and parties running in the elections.
Pablo Iglesias (Podemos)
Pablo Iglesias is running for the prime minister office on behalf of his party Podemos. Pablo Iglesias was a professor at the University of Madrid until 2014 when he decided to create Podemos. He was a member of the European Parliament from July 2014 to October 2015 and a member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies since the 2015 Spanish general elections.
Podemos burst into the Spanish political scene on January 2014 while Spain was going through an acute political, social and economic crises. Its founders intend to carry the messages of "real democracy" movement "indignados," which occupied the cities of the country in May 2011. Podemos is organized around two projects: regenerate the system and promote social transformation. It promises social development, a guaranteed basic universal income, and protection for vulnerable populations.
Pedro Sánchez (PSOE)
Pedro Sanchez was a city councilor in Madrid from 2004 to 2009 before becoming a member of the Spanish parliament in 2009. In 2014, he became the head of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). He has been the prime minister of Spain since 2018 when his party formed a a ruling coalition upon the ouster of Rajoy.
Since then, Pedro Sanchez re-established medical insurance for undocumented migrants, increased the minimum wage and the salary of public employees. The PSOE promised to fight against social exclusion and inequality and while favoring dialogue with independentists unlike right-wing parties.
While Sanchez government diud ultimitaly recognize Venezuela's Juan Guaido as "interim president" under U.S. pressure, he had pushed for a less interventinist polices than the rest of his European allies. Sanchez also held bilteral meetings with many Latin American countries including leftist and progressive ones.
Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos)
Albert Rivera started his career working at the La Caixa Spanish savings bank. He was then elected president of Ciudadanos, or Citizens in English, in 2006 and won elections at the Parliament of Catalonia the same year although Rivera and the Citizens party are opposed to Catalan Independence.
Albert Rivera describes himself as pro-Europeans and wants to "rationalize" the labor market. He also wishes to fight against corruption. Citizens is a center-right political party funded in Catalonia in 2006 and was first a regional party. It supports a unified Spain and respect for the Constitution.
Pablo Casado (PP)
Pablo Casado describes himself as a liberal-conservative. He entered politics and joined the People's Party (PP) in 2003 when he was still a student. He became a member of the Congress of Deputies in November 2011 general election and was re-elected in the 2015 and 2016 general elections. In June 2015, he was appointed Vice Secretary-General of Communication of the PP by the party president Mariano Rajoy.
The PP is a liberal conservative, Christian democratic party. The PP and Pablo Casado criticize the right of abortion and support a unified Spain. The People's Party was a re-foundation in 1989 of the People's Alliance (AP), a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, a former Minister of the Interior and Minister of Tourism during Francisco Franco's dictatorship.
Santiago Abascal (Vox)
Founded in 2014, the party took 12 parliamentary seats in Andalusia in December. Vox is a far-right and populist, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party. However, its leaders reject the far-right label. Its support for Spain's membership of the European Union, it says, differentiates it from many far-right populist movements that have been on teh rise in Europe in recent years. "We stand for the same law-and-order and social conservative causes as Trump," Mr. Abascal said in an interview.
Different polls give Spain's Socialists around 30 percent of votes. The second most voted party would be PP, with 20 percent of support. Ciudadanos would receive 14 percent of votes. Vox and Podemos could acquire approximately 12 percent of the votes. Around 40 percent of the population is still undecided, accordsing to the most recent polls less than a week before election day.